U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is stepping up his efforts to protect the GOP majority in the upper chamber, teaming up with fellow Texan Sen. John Cornyn to raise money for a half dozen endangered colleagues.
Cruz and Cornyn, the Senate majority whip, are headlining two fundraisers Oct. 6 in Texas — one in Dallas, the other in Houston — to help the vulnerable incumbents win re-election, according to invitations. The events will benefit Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The fundraisers, which most of those senators are set to be at, cost at least $1,000 to attend, according to the invitations. Hosts are being asked to give or raise $10,000. The money will go to a new joint fundraising committee, United for a Senate Majority, that is made up of the six senators' re-election accounts plus Cruz's own campaign for another term in 2018.
With less than two months until Election Day, Cruz has been increasing his activity in support of the Republican majority. Earlier this week, he agreed to give $100,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of GOP senators.
Cruz is expected to become more involved on the campaign trail next month, after stumping for a handful of down-ballot candidates in recent months. He has kept a relatively low profile since the Republican National Convention in July, when he caused an uproar by declining to endorse presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The fundraisers next month will benefit a group of senators not often associated with Cruz's confrontational brand of conservatism. None of them endorsed him for president, and some, including Ayotte, have criticized his tactics in the Senate.
Cruz is also viewed as having a frosty relationship with Cornyn, who has declined to endorse Cruz for re-election in 2018, when he could face a challenger. Cruz similarly stayed out of Cornyn's 2014 primary.
For Cornyn, the Oct. 6 fundraisers are just the latest in his efforts to help keep the Senate in GOP hands. He has already helped raise $15 million for Republicans on the ballot in November, according to an aide.
Read more on Cruz and Cornyn:
- The widely held perception in Washington is that Cruz and Cornyn are the two same-state senators who least like each other. The most frequently used word observers use to describe the relationship is “disconnected.”
- Cornyn said it was "a mistake" for Cruz to show up at the Republican National Convention with no intention of endorsing presidential nominee Donald Trump.
- Cornyn is declining to endorse Cruz for re-election to the Senate, just as Cruz did not back Cornyn for another term two years ago.